Singapore

Singapore, Germany to cooperate in new areas

PM Lee meets German Chancellor Merkel in Berlin

While working on an enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement, Singapore and Germany signed a Joint Statement on Cybersecurity Cooperation yesterday.

Both countries are also embarking on other new areas of cooperation, such as in research and development for industry 4.0, fintech and even sports, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in his remarks to reporters after meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Federal Chancellery in Berlin.

Germany and Singapore enjoy a very close partnership, underpinned by broad and deep collaboration, he said.

"Most importantly, we are both like-minded on many issues with a shared strategic outlook. We are both strongly committed to an open international trading system, the rule of law and sustainable development."

Dr Merkel said both countries agree on the need to strengthen multilateral ties, and keep trade flows open.

This is an area that Singapore has been very successful in throughout its history - opening up to and facing new technological developments, she added.

"As far as our bilateral ties are concerned, it's fair to say they are very close, very friendly indeed. We have been pursuing an open dialogue on foreign policy and security issues, we have excellent economic and trade ties, and we have a very intensive research cooperation," she said.

The joint declaration signed yesterday covers cybersecurity cooperation in key areas including regular information exchanges, joint training and research, and sharing best practices to promote innovation.

Both countries cooperate closely on defence and security, and Singapore is grateful to Germany for hosting training by the Singapore Armed Forces, PM Lee added.

On trade, he said Singapore greatly appreciates Germany's support for the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (EUSFTA), and he hopes the deal will come into force soon.

"It will bring significant benefits to Singapore, to Germany and in fact the whole of the EU, and signal clearly our support for international trade," he said.

It will also be "a pathfinder" for an EU-Asean FTA, and help draw the two regions even closer together, he added.

The EUSFTA had hit a roadblock in May, when the European Court of Justice ruled that it had to be ratified by the EU's 38 national and regional authorities to come into force.

The path is now clear for that process to be completed, Mr Lee said.

Germany is the Republic's largest trading partner in the European Union, while Singapore is Germany's largest trading partner in Asean.

Mr Lee said he looks forward to launching electronics giant Siemens' Singapore Digitalisation Hub when he visits Munich next week. The hub, which he said is the first of its kind globally, will be doing R&D into digitalisation and the Internet of things.

Mr Lee thanked Dr Merkel for inviting Singapore to the Group of 20 (G-20) Leaders' Summit in Hamburg this weekend.

Singapore is not a member of the G-20, which comprises 19 major countries and the European Union, but this will be the seventh time the country has been invited to participate as a representative of the Global Governance Group (3G), an informal group of 30 small and medium-sized countries that Singapore is convenor of.

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